U.S. breweries top 5,000 mark, and other stats

Draft magazine illustration
Industry analysts predicted the number of breweries in the United States would top the 5,000 mark sometime this year. They were right. As of 12 days ago, the official number stands at 5,005.

That is among a bevy of statistics just released by The Brewers Association (BA), a non-profit craft brewing trade organization. Luckily for me, the folks at Draft magazine waded through the numbers to extract some of the more interesting ones, so I didn't have to.

To put these stats in perspective, it might be helpful to know the BA definition of craft brewing. It is, "Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3% of U.S. annual sales); less than 25% percent of the brewery is owned or controlled by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer; a brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.: It does not consider flavored malt beverages beers.

Here are some of their highlights:
• There are 5,005 breweries in the U.S. as of November 30, an average of about 100 per state and roughly half the number of wineries nationwide.

• Craft beer production volume grew 8% percent through June 30.

• While dollar sales growth also continued for craft beer, it had at midyear slowed to its lowest rate since a 2014.

• IPAs represent a quarter of craft beer volume. The BA points out that what they refer to as “more sessionable styles” like golden ales, pilsners and pale lagers are up 33%, but they still total just under 5% of craft volume.

• American beer abroad takes in $116 million for craft breweries. Craft beer export volume increased by 16.3% this year, totaling 446,151 barrels. More than 100 BA-defined craft breweries sell their beer abroad.

• Homebrewing generated more than $1 billion in spending, created more than 11,000 jobs and now totals about 1.2 million participants nationwide.

• 47% of people say they’ve visited a brewery while traveling this year, according to a Nielsen panel.

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